Monday, September 20, 2010

Callout!

Sending this out to all the activists/decent people I know, who will hopefully pass it on…

The London Free School Project aims to create a ‘free school’ - a squatted learning centre/community space in London, hosting workshops run by members of the community and outside speakers on everything from ancient history to permaculture to feminism to current events, gardening, creative writing and crafts workshops, film nights, art exhibitions and food events. The free school is built on the belief that encouraging members of the community to organise and rely on each other rather than on outside institutions will allow individuals to see their own power and the power of their community, in a world where that power is often held as secondary to the power of companies, governments and the police force. Holding non-hierarchical events will hopefully provide a platform for members of the community to connect with each other, building community strength and combating problems such as racism, anti social behaviour and the negative attitude towards ‘teenagers’. Today’s education system sees learning as a resource, a means to an end of getting a good grade and a well paid job, rather than as an end in itself; students are increasingly taught how to jump through hoops in exams and condense their knowledge down to memorable soundbites rather than developing a deeper knowledge of the subject for its own sake. The free school idea is built upon the belief that each individual has something they can contribute to a wider pool of knowledge, and the aim is to incorporate as large a variety of knowledge as possible to widen people’s horizons and destroy harmful stereotypes and assumptions; even more important than the knowledge shared will hopefully be the building of partnerships and connections within a community, and ideally the school would eventually be handed over for local residents to use as they like.

At the moment we have a possible site - a large, three-storey detached house in Hounslow, West London, (very near Hounslow eco-village), with an enormous garden, running water, a flushing toilet and a large number of rooms on the third floor which could be used for accommodation, as well as large spaces on the first and second floors to hold workshops and events. However, what we don’t have is people! Ideally what the project requires is a core group of people to permanently live on site, work on improving the house and garden, and make connections within the local community - people need to know and trust us before we open up the building and start holding workshops - as well as others who drop by and help make repairs, garden or bring in furniture. If you are interested and can give any time at all, whether an hour a week, a day, or living on site several days a week or even full time, please get in touch -

Email: londonfreeschoolproject@gmail.com
Phone: 07…2

Please pass this on to anyone who you think will be interested!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

At Grow Heathrow!

This is a really amazing place! The people here did a lot of networking - 6 months of getting in touch with the locals - before they did the land grab. I need to spend a lot of time getting in touch with people in activist circles/community projects etc. to find decent people to work on it with me, the people here and at Hounslow are lovely but involved in their own stuff. So I’ll be going to climate camp meetings (going to an Iranian green movement meeting tonight, should be interesting), places like LARC, 56a and Pogo Cafe, as well as volunteering at a youth club near Hounslow (this great guy A will get me a place) and possibly working (earning MONEY!) as a school mentor.

So basically need to find a team of people and then start talking to people near where the school is gonna be based (unless someone gets to the building before me! ¬__¬).

Monday, September 13, 2010

Last night we went and had a proper look at the place, there’s a window open right out front. Was a bit scary with the floors being just wooden beams with wood coverings, with quite a drop underneath, eek. Also some holes in the floor and one in the roof. But still, huge, beautiful place. It has a FLUSHING TOILET! And running water. It would be great to do it up. Some graffitti in there dating from 2008, some tools (including a digger!) with a lot of dust on them, a few of the old surgery beds (which are creepy, I kept expecting to find a body), some dishes by the sink which are all a bit dusty too. It doesn’t look like anyone lives there, if they did there’d probably be beer cans everywhere or something. Looked on the internet but no info since like 2003 as far as I can find… I really hope we can use it, need to find some good people to squat it and work on it with me. Hopefully going down to some activist camp with good connections today, and then to Climate Camp meeting tomorrow, where I can find a few people <3

Friday, September 10, 2010

Went scouting for abandoned buildings this morning. After a lot of set backs, including the owners coming home to find me in their garden >__> I eventually found this enormous place, it’s got a big garden out back with a ton of nettles, proper huge 3-storey house with a small glass conservatory area out front. There seems to have been building work going on there but the doors all have some cobwebs on them… I’m going to take a few people down there to have a look soon, but it’s an amazing place and on a main road too, so it would be perfect. It’s the old Pountney Cosmetic Surgery place.